Andrea Salvisberg: Welcome to hell: the “Inferno Triathlon” is well known among triathlets in Switzerland. “One of the toughest triathlons in the world, always up, up, up and then down again, and the same again and again, you do four disciplines in succession.” Shortly 155 kilometer of swimming, cycling, mountain biking and jogging (or almost hiking) with 5,500 meters of difference in altitude.
And … it was so much fun! Being the first single athlete out of the water, I switched to the bike under great applause. With great speed and some strong watts upwards to the “Grosse Scheidegg”, I managed to fly through transition to the mountain bike with 8 minutes ahead of the rest of the strong field. Up to this point, I got 4h 02min of hard work…and that was about where my limit goes. The good fun was gone at once and the pain had come from nowhere. I just felt the water running down and my body had to fight hard against the heat.
With great difficulty I managed to climb the “Kleine Scheidegg” – across country style. At the top, I whooped at the people of the Isostar-support post: “I need energy, quick!” I put my bike on the ground and they brought me cups and plastic dishes with Long Energy, water, Coke, chocolate, bananas and High Energy Bars by Isostar. I took a few minutes and acted like some pensioners on their holiday in front of a big Spanish buffet: Half of the bar into the mouth, the other falls to the ground, a sip of water, the rest over the head; I skull the Coke like the Tequila shot at the bar and squeeze the banana into the mouth, as it would be a power gel.
But this short break was worth a lot. On the descent with the bike, my spirit awoke again. It was great to feel having some power again in my legs…in transition to the run I even brought up a smile. But now it was time to push myself mentally!! Ahead of me were 25km uphill, I had to jog for about 3h – this time to the summit of the Schilthorn, where James Bond was waiting for me. Lucky me, every 2km there were the Isostar-support posts, which I used to strengthen my body with chocolate. I reached about 12 posts, stopped and ingested water/coke…and always a few pieces of the famous Ovo-chocolate. Overall, I certainly polished five chocolate bars, but this was my desperately needed fuel up to the top of the Schilthorn (3’000m ).
For the last kilometer I needed around 25 minutes…I bet u guys don’t believe me, but it is true. First you could go on jogging, then you had to walk and at the end it was just “pure climbing”. In front of the finish line, I just had enough energy to put down a cool jump and then…”totally smashed”. But the experience was worth dying for; I can only recommend it to all you crazy fellas!!